The trial of two young men accused of involvement in the hate killing of Luis Ramirez in July 2008, entered its second week today. According to the local Republican Herald newspaper testimony against Derrick Donchak and Brandon Piekarsky included the following witnesses:
Joshua Redmond, Shenandoah, testified Tuesday he went along with the others [five teenagers] in making up a story to try to protect Brian Scully, who was the first to be interviewed by law enforcement.
“We got our story off what Brian had already told him,” that no one used racial slurs, that they had not been drinking and they had not kicked Ramirez, testified Redmond, who is now in the Navy, stationed in Jacksonville, Fla. “The first time I told the truth was at the District Attorney’s office” when interviewed on July 22, 2008, for the third time.
Redmond testified Piekarsky admitted kicking Ramirez in the context of a discussion about the kick to the left side of Ramirez’s head that inflicted what prosecutors said were fatal injuries.
A U.S. citizen of Mexican descent testified that the group of six young men involved in the killing of Ramirez had participated in other attacks on Latinos. Jesse Gomez told the court that he himself had been:
“attacked by a lot of guys,” Jesse Gomez, Bloomsburg, told Senior U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo and the jury considering the case of Donchak and Piekarsky.
“Was Mr. Donchak in that crowd?” Assistant Attorney General Myesha K. Braden asked Gomez.
“Yes,” Gomez answered regarding the March 2008 incident.
Ramirez, 25, died of head injuries at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, two days after the beating.
The day Ramirez died, Donchak insinuated that he was not alone and there could be trouble if people acted against him, Gomez said.
“‘Do not try anything. We will start a civil war in Shenandoah. I have friends with powerful weapons’,” is what Donchak said to him, Gomez testified.